April 27, 2009

Gossip Separates

Written by Boyd Bailey

Gossip Separates… “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28

A gossiper is a friend of the insecure and the unstable. It is easy for them to go there because it is comfortable and tantalizing. Gossiping makes the insecure feel superior. People with too much time on their hands are prime candidates for gossip, because they are bored. For them it is sport to speculate on another’s situation at their expense. They relish rumors.

However, gossips prey on God’s patience. He may give them over to their depraved minds and categorize them with severe sinners, “They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents…” (Romans 1:29b-30). Gossips grieve the heart of God. It is idle and cheap talk that fails to trust the Lord. They betray the Lord and His children. It is a serious offense.

“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19). Therefore, it is best to avoid a gossip and not give credence to their callous conversations. Indeed, we all have to watch our words, lest we drift into stirring up dissension. ‘Did you hear about…?’ is generally not a healthy phrase that produces productive outcomes. A friend talks to his friend, not about his friend. A brother does not gossip about a brother.

So the mature cease from speculating, and only draw conclusions after hearing the facts. It takes more time and prayer to honor someone with your speech, but this is the way of the wise. Spirit filled friends do not whisper behind another’s back, but speaks frankly to their face. ‘Do I use words to wound a friend’s reputation, or to help heal their heartache?’ ‘Do my conversations with Christ followers separate or unify friends?’ Apathy is not an option for caring Christians. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

Related Readings: Proverbs 11:3; 26:20; James 3:5; 3 John 1:10

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